Phone box could become lifesaver with new kit

IN the age of mobile phones, e-mail and the internet, the vital lifeline phone boxes gave people in many rural communities has become all but redundant.

However, that is not the case in the tiny village of Hadstock.

The community has rallied to ensure the traditional red booth is relevant once again – acting as a lifeline not to the outside world but to those who have suffered a heart attack.

It is the brainwave of one resident, Kerry Boxall, who came up with the idea of installing a defibrillator in the unused BT phone box.

A fund-raising drive began in November and with the support and donations of residents in the village more than �2,000 was put towards the cause.

In return for donating the cash to the Community Heartbeat Trust, the village was given the defibrillator kit, which was installed last week.

Parish councillor Trevor Smith, who is the co-ordinator for the machine in the village, said it could mean the difference between life and death.

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“If you can use a defibrillator within four or five minutes of a person suffering a heart attack it increases their chance of survival by about 50 per cent,” he told the Reporter.

“As I am the co-ordinator I can access the machine but anybody who dials 999 can also be given the code by the ambulance service.

“The kit is simple to use and takes you through step-by-step what to do in an emergency by talking you through it.

“It will not let you shock the person unless they are in a state of cardiac arrest so nobody can be hurt using it.”

The machine analyses whether the person is having a cardiac arrest and, if required, delivers a powerful but controlled electric shock to restore normal heartbeat.

The defibrillator kit has been registered with the ambulance service so it can be located immediately in an emergency.

BT has agreed to pay for the electricity supply to the machine under its Adopt A Kiosk scheme – which has seen unused phone boxes turned into art galleries, public libraries, exhibitions and information centres.